MOSCOW, April 16 (RIA Novosti) – Russia may file suit against the United States through the World Trade Organization (WTO) over sanctions against Russian banks, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said Wednesday.
“The WTO gives us several additional abilities, right now at the WTO council in Geneva we are discussing the possibility of filing a suit against the United States for its sanctions on Russian banks,” Ulyukayev said during a speech in Russia’s lower house of parliament.
“From our point of view this falls under WTO limitations and we hope to use the WTO mechanism in this area to somehow straighten out our partners,” he said.
As a reaction to Crimea reunifying with Russia last month, the US introduced targeted sanctions against 20 Russian citizens and Rossiya Bank, considered by the US Treasury to be a private bank for more than a dozen Russian government officials, including President Vladimir Putin.
Following the move, international payment system operators Visa and MasterCard stopped client operations for cardholders at Rossiya Bank, SMP Bank, as well as their subsidiaries Sobinbank and Investkapitalbank with no prior notice, causing a serious drop in the consumer confidence of the banks.
Bank Rossiya reacted to the sanctions by closing all its correspondent accounts in US banks, announcing it will operate only on the domestic market using Russia’s national currency, the ruble.